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Papers of the Week

Papers: 26 Feb 2022 - 4 Mar 2022

Pharmacology/Drug Development


PLoS One



Suvorexant and mirtazapine improve chronic pain-related changes in parameters of sleep and voluntary physical performance in mice with sciatic nerve ligation.


Both chronic pain and sleep disorders are associated with a reduction in the quality of life. They can be both a cause and a consequence of each other, and should therefore be simultaneously treated. However, optimal treatments for chronic pain-related sleep disorders are not well established. Here, we aimed to investigate the effects of suvorexant, a novel sleep drug, and mirtazapine, a noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant, on pain-related changes in sleep parameters in a preclinical chronic pain mice model, by partial sciatic nerve ligation. We evaluated the quantity, duration, and depth of sleep by analyzing the electroencephalogram and voluntary activity by counting the number of wheel rotations to determine various symptoms of sleep disorders, including reduced total sleep time, fragmentation, low quality, and impaired activity in the daytime. Suvorexant and mirtazapine normalized the reduction in sleep time and fragmented sleep, further regaining the sleep depth at sleep onset in the chronic pain state in nerve-ligated mice. Mirtazapine also increased the percentage of rapid eye movement sleep in mice. Suvorexant decreased voluntary activity, which was prolonged after administration; however, mirtazapine did not decrease it. Although the effects of suvorexant and mirtazapine on sleep and activity are different, both suvorexant and mirtazapine could be potential therapeutic agents for chronic pain-related sleep disorders.